Historic St. George’s UMC, founded in 1769, inaugurated what may become a yearlong celebration of its 250th anniversary with an historic Sunday worship service Nov. 24. Ensuing events include a Dec. 1 Christmas concert and dedication of special plaques during another concert Jan. 25, 2020, to help dedicate its new Justice for Our Neighbors immigration legal aid ministry.
The Rev. Mark I. Salvacion, pastor, welcomed the Rev. Fred Day, former pastor and the denomination’s chief historian, as the anniversary service guest preacher and Bishop Peggy Johnson, who led the celebration of a special Holy Communion. Day served as Historic St. George’s pastor in 2005-2014 before becoming head of the UMC’s General Commission on Archives and History.
As the oldest continuously operating Methodist Church in the U.S. celebrates its history, it also charts a path of justice ministry into its future. The church will launch in January Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON) of the Delaware Valley. It will be the newest member of a national United Methodist network of church-based, free or low-cost immigration legal services provided to vulnerable immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Salvacion, a practicing attorney who has handled challenging immigration cases, will lead the ministry and handle its cases. Historic St. George’s JFON office will serve the Philadelphia area initially and then expand further into Delaware and New Jersey. It will be the first JFON ministry in this region, joining 17 other sites.
“In this time of uncertainty within the UMC, it is vital that all United Methodists honor the historic roots of American Methodism at HSG,” said Salvacion. “But we will also highlight HSG’s new and ongoing missions, including our new immigration ministry.”
Additional anniversary events will focus on the church’s 20 years of hosting an interfaith study among religious leaders and its commitment to improving disability access in its facility. To learn more visit their website and Facebook page.